“For us, it is a friendship of 12 years. Right from the beginning, we depended on each different and knew that we had to provide every other area. That is the most effective way a CTO can consider innovation, and the CEO can think of the commercial enterprise and its boom. Cofounders will constantly require that form of believe and space to make it a success.” — Mayank Agarwal, cofounder and CTO, Hubilo.
This expertise between Agarwal and his cofounder Vaibhav Jain has enabled the duo to scale their startup thru numerous market conditions — pivoting and updating with each essential industry shift.
Hubilo became started in 2015 as a digital networking platform and currently operates as an quit-to-stop digital event platform, with forty% of the customer base within the US, whilst the APAC and the EU account for 25% every. Its esteemed clientele consists of the United Nations, Walmart, AB InBev, Roche Pharma, Echo, and GITEX.
Earlier, the startup told cft that it shifted to live digital occasions 26 days into the 2020 lockdowns and on account that then have managed to onboard greater than 750 clients from 100+ international locations and engaged with more than a hundred Mn attendees thru its portfolio of 10K+events.
When asked approximately Hubilo’s inception, Agarwal recalled that his cofounder usually had an entrepreneurial mind-set and the vision to start his employer. “After university, I become running for an IoT startup while he (Jain) referred to as and requested me to join his startup and construct an in-residence tech team. And I stated sure with out questioning twice. I just knew that if he had started out something, it would develop huge.”
But when they started as a virtual networking platform in 2015, the market was now not equipped for it. It become while Zoom or Google Meet or Meet Now had not emerge as component and parcel of our every day lives as they're now in an epidemic-hit world. People had been frightened of the virtual global, and stay-streaming of virtual events become whatever however niche. But all that modified in 2020 as the Corona crisis brought life (and the economic system) to a shuddering halt.
While businesses across sectors saw their sales hit rock bottom, digital networking became many of the few markets that witnessed a surge. By then, almost all businesses had started the use of these platforms for their day-to-day operations, particularly because the work-from-home lifestyle flourished due to long spells of lockdowns throughout the u . S ..
As realisation dawned that the arena might no longer go back to pre-Covid normalcy each time soon, new digital occasion platforms hit the marketplace, and occasion planners started out exploring the ones. But none of those systems had the tech stack that would assist enterprises host huge-scale events.
Understanding the brand new project, Hubilo determined to faucet into the opportunity. “We experimented and added a video networking platform to our existing one. We did this in 20 days with a small group of 35-forty humans. Out of them, handiest 10 have been engineers. In the ones 20 days, we released our new platform and hosted a totally a success event of around three hundred attendees,” added Agarwal.
After web hosting the video-included occasion, Hubilo fully realised the ability in this area and started including extra capabilities to its platform. Since its jump of tech, the agency has hosted massive-scale occasions — — for the Indian entities of agencies which include Publicis Sapient (TLG India), Nivea India, Reliance Jio, Schneider Electric, and George P. Johnson.
Here are the edited excerpts from cft’s interplay with Mayank Agarwal as the CTO charts the tech and innovation at Hubilo and his learnings via the pivots and growth.
cft: Tell us approximately the preliminary market hesitancy regarding virtual occasions. What are the key demanding situations, and the way advanced is the Hubilo platform to counter them?
Mayank Agarwal: Hosting an occasion is an art. When you do it, you have to drive attendee participation and engagement at the side of the sessions, and it's far hard. In physical occasions, there are options of putting in place stalls, cubicles, and greater. But the digital event itself becomes a venue, and you have to do the whole lot interior it.
In the start, simply as the pandemic hit, brands were hesitant, majorly because of the heavy dependence on technology. If one issue is going south, the complete experience might be ruined. But four or 5 months down the line, they commenced noticing the steadiness of these systems. Not simply Hubilo but all other occasion systems that are robust enough. So, it’s all about trusting the platform.
Going thru this complete revel in additionally made us realise that it's far essential to ensure that the occasion and the attendee studies remain wonderful for occasion tech structures like ours. Therefore, we continually observe how we power this journey on our platform through engaging and immersive occasion stories.
cft: What is the function of statistics and analytics in a a success virtual event? How can manufacturers make certain the success in their occasions?
Mayank Agarwal: It is crucial to look at the information from past occasions which can assist tell all departments of a advertising and marketing corporation what elements of the events resonate the most with audiences. Using event generation, organisers can recognize extra than who appreciated an occasion. They can also apprehend the way to tailor each occasion revel in to the man or woman before, at some point of, and after the occasion.
People like attractive content, particularly while they can engage in it with their buddies and associates. This is one of the reasons that the Netflix “watch birthday party” feature has been a huge success on the platform. One engagement strategy that has worked effectively for Hubilo is to think of occasions from a broadcasting attitude rather than simply trying to replicate a live occasion. Ultimately, human beings should be able to attend an occasion from everywhere and engage with the content material with other attendees, whether they’re in-character or virtual.
cft: You pivoted and released a brand new product in 26 days. You have also released Hubilo 2.0 with greater capabilities. How did you acquire this feat?
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Mayank Agarwal: We commenced with a completely simple networking platform in 2015. And then, we experimented with the video factor. But even as we noticed growth, we knew it became not a sustainable version.
So, to recognize the marketplace and what kind of functions we should convey into the market, we did what we have continually accomplished. We focussed on what our customers have been announcing.
You may additionally say this product has been constructed on patron feedback. We accumulated loads of remarks, specifically six months into the pandemic, asking them what needed to be constructed and what they wanted to look on the virtual networking platform. Through that, we also understood the form of provider-degree agreements we must provide, the tweaks and the improvements we'd ought to make, and greater.
Plus, we had a team working on scaling, balance, and platform safety at the equal time, making sure that we would be GDPR-prepared as well. After all, we had to be open for the everyday marketplace. We also got the ISO 27001 certification in the ones seven-eight months. So, the whole lot changed into running parallel again then.
cft: Hubilo has worked with global brands. How do you make sure that manufacturers can leverage the platform’s ability to the fullest?
Mayank Agarwal: Well, we consider that Hubilo is a international platform. It isn't always restricted to any geography, and our customers across the globe take into account that the digital international is without boundary lines. The credit score for this should go to our purchaser achievement and onboarding groups. Understanding virtual events and their complexities can be hard. Therefore, our first awareness is teaching our customers on how to reflect onconsideration on occasions from a hybrid or digital attitude, the way to have interaction with the attendees, a way to scale the occasions in addition, and more.
cft: What are the largest challenges while you paintings with clients across sectors and from all around the global?
Mayank Agarwal: A major venture is language, of path. When you want to attain out to different areas, you ought to have get right of entry to to one-of-a-kind languages. It became a key cause for the brand new platform. We built the shape at the backend in order that any language can be introduced within an afternoon. So a ways, the platform supports 10 languages, and we will be including greater very quickly. Our maximum latest occasion that Hubilo hosted had a signal language interpreter as properly, making the event greater inclusive.
cft: What approximately the surprising client surge amid the pandemic? What changes have been required for your operations and business model to handle it?
Mayank Agarwal: We have a totally responsive customer support crew, and we've honestly no response time as a customer service supervisor is proactively on-call for the duration of exercise periods, at some point of the occasion should any problems stand up, and after the occasion if the customer needs help decoding the records. They are not just supplying support over chat or e-mail. The customer support manager is a part of the general event team and is to be had to assist in real-time at every event. During the surge, we extended our crew, and now we've 60-70 qualified engineers who recognize the way to remedy complex problems. We additionally made over our infrastructure and tech stack to support big occasions as we knew we need to be prepared for it. All we had was a grace period of three-4 months because planners could take that point to modify to the digital event space. Those months were like a war duration for us. We grew across all departments.
cft: The world is catching directly to hybrid events. What can we count on from Hubilo to make bigger that experience?
Mayank Agarwal: To accommodate hybrid events at the platform, we have made a variety of updates to our lately released app. We are actually providing attendees and speakers with a one-to-one video calling alternative besides living room and networking alternatives and greater. We have additionally opened our platform to a number of vendors, making it greater flexible.
Hubilo has recently released a check-in app to assist organisers enhance protection, security, and compliance for their attendees, audio system, and groups — both in bodily and digital activities.
cft: Finally, what’s subsequent for your product playbook and global enlargement plan?
Hubilo has the largest suite of engagement and gamification capabilities on the market and we’re persevering with to add to that suite of features so that humans can have interaction anywhere they're, on any tool. I don’t want to get into our international expansion plans just but, because the digital world is ultimately borderless and our activities can be hosted from everywhere and in any timezone. That’s considered one of the largest benefits of a virtual occasion.